SNCHD stresses importance of parental involvement

As children become teenagers, parents may feel they no longer have much influence on their teen’s decision making, especially when it comes to details like dating, abstinence, sex and birth control.The good news is parents count. Recent research shows that when parents communicate their attitudes and values about teen sexuality to their children, their teenagers are less likely to have sexual relations at an early age.Don’t just have “the talk” — talking with teenagers about sexuality can be ongoing, two-way conversations during which both parents and their teens can raise questions and concerns.And don’t worry — parents don’t have to have all the answers — just making the effort to talk with teens makes a difference. The more parents talk, the easier it gets.The Sweetwater-Nolan County Health Department tells parents to be there for their teen. Studies show there is less sex at an early age and less teen pregnancy in homes with parental caring and concern, parental presence in the home, shared activities and overall closeness between parents and their teens.“Communicate with your teen about sex, love and relationships.” While many parents report talking to their teen about these issues, far fewer young people say that such conversations actually occurred. “Know where you stand on issues of teen sexuality, and communicate clearly with your teen about your attitudes and values.” Parents who communicate clear messages on the value of delaying sex have children who are less likely to have sex at an early age.Teens do talk to their parents. Parents are, in fact, an important source of information. Teenagers obtain information about sex and/or contraception from their parents.“The most important thing is to stay connected and keep the conversation going. Remember, the most significant influence in your teenager’s life may still be you.”The Sweetwater-Nolan County Health Department Family Planning Program is located at 301 E. 12th in Sweetwater and can be reached at 325-235-2869.